Softcover, 176 pages
By Georges Perec
Translated from the French by Philip Terry, introduction and notes by David Bellos
At once an affectionate portrait of mid-century Paris and a daring pointillist autobiography, Georges Perec's I Remember is the last of this essential writer's major works to be translated into English. Consisting of 480 numbered statements, all beginning identically with "I remember," and all limited to pieces of public knowledge—brand names and folk wisdom, actors and illnesses, places and things ("I remember: "When parents drink, children tipple"; "I remember Hermès handbags, with their tiny padlocks"; "I remember myxomatosis")—the book represents a secret key to the world of Perec's fiction. As critic, translator, and Perec biographer David Bellos notes in his introduction to this edition, since its original publication, "It's hardly possible to utter the words je me souviens in French these days without committing a literary allusion." As playful and puzzling as the best of Perec's novels, I Remember began as a simple writing exercise, and grew into an expansive, exhilarating work of art: the image of one unmistakable and irreplaceable life, shaped from the material of our collective past. For this edition, Perec's 480 memories, sometimes obvious, sometimes obscure, have been elucidated and explained by David Bellos.